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5 Ways to Raise Supergirl

5 Ways to Raise Supergirl

A few months ago, I wrote an article to my beautiful daughter, which you can find here 5 Ways My Daughter Made Me a Better Man.

When I read about or witness evil things taking place in this world, it makes me wonder if there is even hope for anyone in this evil place. Then I look at my wonderful daughter. She is the reason to keep trying, she is what is great about living in this world.

When I think about empowering my daughter and helping her to become a strong and positive woman, I think of Supergirl. Supergirl is an empowered woman who takes action, makes positive choices, and is a positive role model for girls across the world.

So how do you raise Supergirl? My response to this question is not your typical list of characteristics. My response and advice to raising Supergirl is based on my hope that my daughter truly lives her life to the fullest.

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Here are 5 things my wife and I plan on asking or telling our daughter so she may grow to be our Supergirl:

1. What Do You Desire?

“If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out, and difficult.” – Heraclitus

Ask yourself this simple question, “What do you desire?” Not, what do your family or community or friends desire of you, but, what do YOU desire?

Alan Watts provides sage advice to this question, “So I always ask the question…what would you do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is important, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.”

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Don’t worry so much about how you will get to your desire, the important thing is to figure out where and what your desire is. Once the where and what are clear, the how will take care of itself.

2. Question Everything

“In order to reach the truth, it is necessary, once in one’s life, to put everything in doubt–so far as possible.” – Descartes

Learn to question everything from everyone, even your mother and I. Learn to ask the question, “What if we are wrong?” Our entire life, we are raised with specific beliefs. These beliefs are pounded into our head. I firmly believe that my beliefs are correct, however, what if they are not…what if I am wrong? Do not ever be afraid to ask this question.

3. Recognize That There Is Evil in This World

“Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.” – C.S. Lewis

Life is full of great wonders and limitless possibilities. However, it is also full of evil. There are people in this world who will not hesitate to hurt you. These people live in a world where you are an object to be manipulated and exploited. These people will create illusions; illusions of love with intention of destruction.

Be cautious and vigilant with everyone you come into contact with, especially the internet community. Recognize that these are real people and there are places on the internet that are no different than walking down a dark alley in East Saint Louis.

4. Fight!

“Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.” – George Carlin

You must learn to fight for yourself and your family. The world can be an extremely evil place and you must be prepared to defend yourself at all times. Learning how to fight will make you more confident. It will change the way you think about life and force you to keep your mind and body in peak physical condition.

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Learning how to fight means that you train, not just your body, but your mind as well. Learn how to identify situations where evil things could exist. Learning how to fight will not fully prepare for every situation, but ask yourself what is better–to know how to defend yourself and give yourself those precious few seconds to call for help–or to not know how and just give up?

5. Transcend Limiting Beliefs

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

Move through life knowing that the limits to your abilities simply do not exist. One way to do this is to find people who are smarter or those who have accomplished more than you. Trust me, there is always someone. If you are able to admit that there is always someone ahead of you, and you eliminate the need to compete with them, you will experience exponential growth. Then keep growing. Once you advance to their level of achievement, continue to find smarter people.

Use the following advice as you take the next step: 1) If you don’t go after your desire, you will never have it. 2) You have to ask, otherwise the answer will always be no. 3) If you don’t take the next step, you will always be in the same place.

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Remember this last piece of advice, “It seems to me the most incomparable tragedy to live one’s life only to realize at the end of it that one never truly lived it at all.” – Alan Watts

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Dr. Jamie Schwandt

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Published on December 14, 2018

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

Reference

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